Former Spitfires GM Warren Rychel joins Barrie Colts as head coach

The man who served as the general manager and part owner of the Windsor Spitfires for 13 years has joined the Barrie Colts as the OHL team’s newest head coach.

In a Monday media release, Colts president Howie Campbell said the team felt the need to bring in a “seasoned hockey veteran to help lead the team this year” following Dale Hawerchuk’s medical leave announced in early September.

“It’s been a very difficult couple of weeks, but we are confident that Warren can help guide us to where we need to be, said Campbell. “We’ve been building this team for awhile and we feel we have the team to have a good run this year.”

(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Rychel said he was “thrilled to be joining the Colts,” but added that the circumstances surrounding his involvement with team weren’t the best. 

“I have huge respect for Dale Hawerchuk and first and foremost my thoughts are with him and his family,” he said, in the same Tuesday media release. “I’ve known Howie and the Colts organization for many years and I know this is a top notch OHL team.”

Former Winnipeg Jets great Dale Hawerchuk is taking a leave of absence from his role as head coach of the Ontario Hockey League’s Barrie Colts. (Trevor Hagan/Canadian Press)

“As a group, I think we have some of the best minds and experience in the league,” he said, adding that he’s “excited to get started.”

Rychel, who also held a minority stake in the Windsor Spitfires before his split from the team, announced his departure from the Rose City’s OHL team in July. 

He led the team through more than 500 regular season and playoff games combined, including three Memorial Cup victories in 2009, 2010 and 2017.

The Barrie Colts’ first OHL game of the 2019-20 season will be held on Sept. 21. 

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